Officers from 31 Division got a front row seat to mentoring teens by taking them to a Raptors game recently.
In partnership with Pro Action Cops & Kids and the Air Canada Centre, 14 teens from the Prince Youth Basketball (PYB) program took in a Raptors game alongside officers.
Jayson Prince started the basketball program three years ago to teach youth discipline, life skills, and the importance of education through the game of basketball. The PYB Mission Statement is: “An intense and fun program that serves a wide variety of training methods to enhance youth’s potential using the game of basketball. Most importantly the group innovatively draws parallels between basketball and education by utilizing basketball improvement methods and comparing them to educational improvement methods."
Upon starting the program Jayson’s group quickly expanded to 45-50 youth involved, most of which have been part of the group since its formation. All youth are from the local area and range from age 10-18. Jayson runs the program on weekends, year round, at both the Domenico Di Luca Community Centre located and Oakdale Middle School.
Officers got involved in the program last year participating in basketball drills and games as well as the mentoring sessions held before playing. Jayson begins the program every day with a 15-20 minute talk about life skills, the importance of education, discipline, respect, and being responsible for your actions through poems, guest speakers, personal stories, and basketball.
A friendly basketball game was held last spring between officers and youth that cemented their relationship through its success.
Sergeant Michelle Masters, Constables Jason Muto, Sohail Nadeem, Kevin Brushett, Robyn Sutton, Drew McLean and Ray Hobson had the chance to enjoy the game alongside the youth as well as have the opportunity to interact with them before and after the game with a pizza dinner and Officers thanked Pro Action Cops & Kids, Barb Weinburg and Josh Nobrega of the Air Canada Centre and Pizza Nova for sponsoring the night.